Short of next week’s scheduled hearing, today, an Arbitrator has ruled summary judgment against my wife on a case she filed on her previous employer regarding, Title VII Discrimination and Retaliation. The Arbitrator’s decision was extremely disappointing but necessary, in that, it confirms our suspicion of his bias which he had throughout the litigation. I’ll explain what I mean below, but want to first address how we got to this situation and the conclusion of the Arbitrator’s conduct regarding “evident partiality”.
To work for this particular corporation, you must first sign an agreement to an arbitration in case such an event of illegal activity or any dispute were to occur at the place of work and you wanted to sue them for being big jerks. No one ever thinks, while skimming through their crispy new “Welcome Package” and sipping coffee from the mug bearing the company’s logo, like, “yup, I can’t wait to sue the drywall off this place.” So we do like most people who look forward to their first paycheck and sign the arbitration agreement.
Work is going great. In fact, a couple of years of excellent service and accommodations attributed to the fact that she was just simply killing it at work. In comes, a new boss, with a welcome package of discrimination and a coffee mug of retaliation. A couple of months go by (actually 2 months and 3 days…) and out the door my wife goes.
We find ourselves sorting through several list of “neutral, impartial, factfinder” (yeah sure thing) with AAA rules. After much dispute with the opposing party on who should run the show, we finally come down to an agreement on one. The Arbitrator fills out a “General Arbitrator Oath Form” which basically says they don’t know any of the parties or worked with anyone or ever had any kind of connection with anyone whatsoever. He fills it out and under oath, swears he doesn’t know anyone. Perfect, right? …
The problem is, he later amends his answer regarding the oath and states that he used to be a shareholder in the firm’s operation. But then state’s, that was years ago … no biggie, right?
Our suspicion of the Arbitrator’s partiality grew soon after the defendant’s “corporate firm” switched up the “rookie” council for an experienced one. One experienced enough to personally know the Arbitrator. In fact, the Arbitrator has a powerful friendship with him and he failed to disclose this with us.
This “experienced council” soon was comfortable enough to conduct in serious ethical violations during “discovery” and throughout. These acts were clearly grounds for sanctions, although, so seldomly are motions for sanctions granted by judges in my district, those who were, could have gotten away with murder if this Arbitrator ran their show.
We had several motions, one including spoliation which went unopposed and quietly denied by the Arbitrator in a hearing (no warnings or reprimands). Anyway, we met every deadline, followed every rule and even stripped the rights to have EEOC investigate this company by requesting a RTS… by his order… (I know you must be thinking about the administrative defense and all … but this is a binding arbitration and the rules are specifically design to disrupt the timely to file a claim and Florida … is an employer friendly state. So much for sunshine…)
Anyway, this last motion sealed the deal for us and we plan to file a motion to vacate once this Arbitrator completes “preparing his order”.
We have what we believe to complete the “prongs” in beating this but could use some help. Our fight needs to be petitioned outside of arbitration but pro se’s are frowned upon. Even savvy ones.
(Disclosure, I’m not an attorney but I work for the same corporation my wife did and have my wife’s permission to discuss the matter above)